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Gazebo In Waiting
A man clad in blue and black walked the busy streets. It was night, and the rain fell from the dark heavens as an army of a billion water droplets. The man in blue walked with a swift grace, he wanted to get out of this rain, he hated the rain.
Fortunately, he found a small gazebo in nearby park to take shelter in. It only took him a moment to realize fully that this was the place. This was the place he was to meet his one of his oldest friends, Billy Randall. He had not seen his friend in over ten years.
Ten years was a long time. And time really changed things dramatically. It changed looks, it changed character, and it changed your way of thinking. And in friendships, those could be very affecting factors. But the man had secret hopes that his friend had not changed any.
The man sat contentedly on a bench coated with slightly chipping paint. And there he sat, and thought of his friend, Billy Randall, his old chum.
They had met back in the mans college years. They had met only because they had just happened to share a dorm room. And over time, the two budding lads bonded, seeing that they had similar interests. Th e chief one being that both shared an undying love for reading.
Over the years they had talked. They discussed books they liked, and books they did not care for that much. And once in a while, they even argued about which author was the better, Charles Dickens, or Edgar Allen Poe.
If a stranger had witnessed the two lads talking to another, he would most likely guess that they might have been brothers, if not brothers, relatives of some sort. In that, he might have not been all too wrong. For they too, like brothers, had an insuperable bond, a strong bond.
But all good things in life will eventually take a different turn. And on graduation day, this rang a truth to the lads. The man had majored in English, and was going to chase his dreams as a writer. While Billy had majored in Science, and was going to go and try to give his knowledge to the world, though science and in invention. They knew on graduation day that they would soon part.
So Billy suggested that they take a late stroll through the park, and talk a while. And so they did, they talked rather deeply, as if they would be gone from each other for a thousand millennia. Their deep discussion ended up taking them to the gazebo, which was centered in the middle of the park.
“You know Billy,” said the man. “It will soon be time for us to go our own way.”
“Yep,” agreed the mans comrade. “That’s true, I’ve got a job waiting for me in St. Louis, and I’ll be leaving soon.”
“Same thing here. Only I’ve got to go back to my hometown, I have got a gig for a column in the newspaper there.”
“I wonder if we will see each other after this,” said Billy. “In these type of friendships, I hear people never do.”
“Well it’s not going to happen to us,” the man had said with a faint ring of confidence in his voice. “It’s not going to happen to us, I can promise that Billy, it won’t.”
“What do you propose we do?” Billy asked with curiosity.
“Meet here. Meet here at this same gazebo, in this same park. We will meet on this same day at nine-forty in the evening. We are gonna do it ten years from now.”
“Why ten years?”
“I don’t know,” he had said honestly. “Maybe because we can see how the other made out. So then we could see if we had the successful careers we’ve always dreamed of. Heck, so we can see how old we both look.”
They shared a long hearty chuckle at this. Then the man said, “How about it Billy? Meet me in ten years?”
Billy, with his bright sky blue eyes, met the man dead center in the eyes and said with a little emotion, “You betcha you old son of gun.”
And this was the last time they had met. Over the decade that had passed since then, there had been a couple of bumps in the road of the mans life. One of the bumps had been he had never become a â€˜famous’ writer like he had always wanted. When he made it to his hometown, he held the newspaper gig for a time, but it was his foolish mistake to quit his job so he could write and submit full time.
It didn’t take a genius to know that foolish mistake would take a hold of his life. Needless to say, the mans full time writing career had went down the drain. The man ended up broke, without a home, and with many debts from loans he could not pay. And in this time of trial, it had made the man desperate.
But eventually, the man found himself back on his feet, and able to provide for what he needed.
And so the years passed. And lately the man was a traveler, he went here, he went there. He went where the wind took him. So since the decade was up, and it was the day that he was supposed to meet Billy Randall, the man ended up here.
The man stopped in his whirling thoughts to look at his wristwatch, it was approximately nine o’ clock. There was a panic within the man, had Billy forgotten about their pact? Was Billy dead? Where was Billy?”
Just at that moment, a policeman on a horse walked up to the gazebo.
Probably wants to get out of this damn rain. The man thought.
He was right. The policeman was wearing a bright yellow rain poncho. The man was wondering if the man was actually a cop, but erased that thought when he saw the still visible badge, and gun through the poncho. The policeman dismounted his horse, then tied it to a wooden column holding up the gazebo. The policeman walked up the stairs of the gazebo and said,(almost shouting over the wind and rain) “Getting out of this rain huh?”
“Yeah,” said the man. “It’s really coming down hard.”
“Sometimes in these situations you wish you were somewhere else.” The policeman stated.
“Well I’d probably be inside a nice warm building right now, but I’ve got to meet someone soon, and we are supposed to meet here.”
“Girlfriend?” the policeman questioned with glee, his mouth curling into an odd smile.
The man smiled also, and returned, “Naw, its nothing like that. It’s just an old friend from college. This kind of was our hang out once upon a time.”
“I see.” The policeman said with a kind of insightfulness.
“Do you now?” the man said, amusement started to etch itself into his face.
“Yeah, I used to have a friend like you do, he is my next door neighbor, can’t say that we see each other all that much though.”
The man glanced down to his watch, nine o’ five. Where was Billy?
The policeman stretched a bit. As he did, his radio started beeping wildly. The policeman took the radio, (after lifting up his poncho.) and silenced it.
“Dang thing never stops beeping,” the policeman explained, “The people in this world never seem to rest. I guess I’m going to get out of this lovely gazebo, and back into this cursed rain.”
“Good luck.” The man said, taking a moment to pity the policeman for his decent back into the never ending hail of rain.
The policeman untied his horse, then mounted his steed, and smiled, “And good luck to you,” he replied. “Hope you can meet that friend of yours.”
“I do too.” The man said agreeing.
The horse turned, and galloped hard on the parks dirt trails, each clop of its hooves met a fresh pallet of untracked mud. Then the horse with the policeman was out of the mans sight. Leaving the man sitting on the bench, his patience wearing thin, hoping that his friend would show up.
It was now nine-thirty-nine. There was still no trace of Billy Randall. It was still raining cats and dogs, and the air was getting icier by the minute. The man shook his head in wonder, had Billy actually forgotten? Billy Randall, his only true friend, had not shown up yet.
Now the man was wondering intensely why he had even bothered with showing up at the gazebo, it had been ten years after all. That was plenty of time for people to forget things.
Something. Something, something had caught the mans eye. It was a figure, a figure with what looked to be dressed in a trench coat, with a hat stuck on its head. The figure moved quickly, as if it had to be somewhere soon.
Hope sprang up as a small fountain in the mans heart. Could this figure be Billy Randall? He hoped it would. He longed to see his old friend, for it had been a very long time.
The figure was coming closer now. And the man judged that it was coming to the gazebo. There was no doubt in his mind, it had to be Billy Randall.
The figure climbed the short flight of stairs of the gazebo with ease. The man was bearded, and his build looked similar to what the man remembered Billy having.
The man in the trench coat studied the mans face, then broke into a healthy laugh, then said, “Jack Maxwell? Jack, is it you?”
The man leapt up when he heard his name and exclaimed, “Billy! You made it!”
“Yes,” he said. “I have. So how have the years been treating you?”
“Good,” the man said. “How about you, you old goat?”
The man in the trench coats face saddened, and out came a voice unfamiliar, without emotion, it was the voice of duty, “Mr. Maxwell,” he said. “I have to arrest you.”
He showed a badge to confirm his identity, and then handed the man a small note.
“A man gave it to me,” said the exposed policeman. “Before he turned you in to me, he said to give this to you. I let you read it if come with me to the station quietly.”
“Of course.” Jack agreed.
Jack blinked his eyes in disbelief, he took the note and read thus:
Earlier today I saw the â€˜Wanted’ poster for your arrest. I never would of guessed you would go in the â€˜robbing banks’ business. I know that I was wanting to become a scientist, but fate showed me a different route, and so here I am, and fate messed with you a little to.
If you are wondering why I did not reveal my identity to you when I was at the gazebo, I can only tell you that I did not want to be the one to arrest you. But I still had to serve my duty, so I had a plainclothes arrest you for me. I hope one day we can meet again in a more warm fashion.
Love, Your Friend,
P.S. You haven’t aged one bit.